This page is considered a naming convention on Military Power Wiki. It is generally accepted among editors and is considered a standard that all users should follow. However, it is not set in stone and should be treated with common sense and the occasional exception. When editing this page, please ensure that your revision reflects consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on this page's discussion page.
For article titles, use the most common unambiguous name. A central tenet of Military Power Wiki naming conventions is to give articles names that will have the greatest chance of being directly linked to within an edit window of another article. Alternative names should be listed in bold type on or near the first line of the article.
Table of Contents
In general, best practice is probably Manufacturer, followed by either Number or Name, whichever seems to be more common.
Guidelines for certain specific groups of aircraft:
US military aircraft
Number and name. F-15 Eagle, P-47 Thunderbolt. Where there is no name, or where the name is not in general use, use the manufacturer and number instead: Lockheed U-2, Convair B-36, General Dynamics F-111. Where there are many names, none of them clearly the most common, use manufacturer and number: Curtiss P-40, Douglas DC-3.
Design bureau and number: Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21, Sukhoi Su-27, Tupolev Tu-144. (There are exceptions: the Sturmovik is best known by that name.) The NATO reporting names, though not part of the official designation, are in many cases the name by which the aircraft is best known in the West, and can redirect to the article under the correct name.
Manufacturer and short designation: Nakajima B5N or Kawasaki Ki-61. Foreign reporting names like "Zeke", "Tony", "Betty" and "Kate" should be redirects to the correct name. The designation to use is the short designations, as above, rather than 'Type 0 Carrier Fighter' or the like. See Japanese military aircraft designation systems.
Mixed origin aircraft
Such as the BAE Hawk made under license by McDonnell-Douglas/Boeing as the T-45 Goshawk, or a great many Sikorsky helicopters made under license by Westland need to be treated on their merits. Often, two separate articles will be needed anyway like the present Hawker Siddeley Harrier and AV-8B Harrier II. If not, primacy should usually go to the design manufacturer rather than the one making it under license.
Some aircraft are so well known that it makes more sense to break the usual rules. In theory, the Mitsubishi A6M is universally known as the Mitsubishi Zero, and it is best to leave it there.
Convention: Articles about ships that have standard prefixes should include them in the article title; for example, HMS Ark Royal, USS Enterprise. Articles about ships that do not have standard prefixes should be titled as (Nationality) (type) (Name); for example, Soviet aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov.
For ships of navies that have standard ship prefixes, use the prefix in the name of the article:
Do not use periods after each letter:
- USS Monitor (not "U.S.S. Monitor")
Do not use the hull classification symbol as a prefix:
- USS Nimitz (CVN-68) (not "CVN Nimitz")
For ships of navies or nations that don't have a standard ship prefix, name the article (Nationality) (type) (Name):
Do not be over-specific about the ship type:
- Japanese aircraft carrier Chitose (not "Japanese light aircraft carrier Chitose")
Do not make up a ship prefix for a navy that did not use one. Thus:
- German battleship Bismarck (not "DKM Bismarck")
- Japanese battleship Yamato (not "HIJMS Yamato" or "IJN Yamato")
- Italian battleship Giulio Cesare (not "RM Giulio Cesare")
Some authors use invented prefixes for consistency with "USS", "HMS" etc. It is not a mistake to do that, but at Military Power Wiki we choose not to. To forestall attempts to move articles to the wrong place, you might want to add redirects from popular invented ship prefixes. So the article Japanese battleship Yamato could have redirects from IJN Yamato and HIJMS Yamato.
However, it is common practice to backdate the use of a prefix so that it applies to ships of that navy that historically would not have been referred to with that prefix, and Military Power Wiki dies follow this practice:
- HMS Royal Charles (1655) (not "English ship Royal Charles")
- USS Constellation (1797) (not "United States ship Constellation")
This is consistent with the ordinary Military Power Wiki naming practice of using modern names for articles even if different from the contemporary name. The article should indicate how the ship was known to her contemporaries (if known), by quoting relevant documents.
Write U.S. Navy hull numbers with a hyphen (the USN itself is not consistent in this respect). Write pennant numbers with neither hyphen nor space (this matches the number as it typically appears on the side of the ship). Note that not all pennant numbers have an initial letter ("flag superior"), for example HMS Ark Royal (91). Also note that in recent decades the Australian and Canadian navies have moved towards American-style three letter pennant number prefixes. These should be written with a space, for example HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331).
Ships with hull number only
Many types of ship, such as American PT boats and German U-boats, are officially known only by a hull number. In these cases, it can be best to spell out the ship type (e.g. Unterseeboot 238), but be sure the ship type name is correct. In many cases, the designation is not an abbreviation and may not relate directly to a ship's class or even type. For the main article, create a redirect or a disambiguation page at the short form. For example, [[PT-109]] can be a redirect to Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109, but U-238 must be a disambiguation page, because of its alternative meaning of Uranium 238.
Disambiguating ships with the same name
It is extremely common for many ships to share a name. Therefore disambiguation needs special attention.
Use ships' hull numbers (hull classification symbols) for the United States Navy. For the modern Royal Navy and many European and Commonwealth navies use pennant numbers if available, sufficiently unique, and well known.
- USS Enterprise (CV-6) and USS Enterprise (CVN-65)
- HMS Illustrious (R87) and [[HMS Illustrious (R06)]]]
In a few cases, one ship is so much better-known than her namesakes that she need not be disambiguated:
- Horatio Nelson's flagship is at [[[HMS Victory]]; other ''Victory''s are disambiguated at HMS Victory (disambiguation).
- Charles Darwin's vessel of exploration is at HMS Beagle; other ''Beagles'' are disambiguated at HMS Beagle (disambiguation).
If a ship had several hull numbers in her career, use the best-known (but give all her hull numbers in the lead section, and make redirects from the others):
*USS Bogue (CVE-9), not ACV-9, or CVHP-9. (She is best known for her actions in the Second Battle of the Atlantic, when she was CVE-9.)
If none of several hull numbers is clearly the best-known, use the first:
*USS Goldsborough (DD-188), not AVP-18, AVD-5, or APD-32.
If no hull number is available, or if it is not well-known, use the ship's year of launching if known (like human birthdays, every ship has one) otherwise some other appropriate initial date, such as commissioning, or the date she is first mentioned in the historical record:
It should be noted that European navies reuse pennant numbers, so ships of the same name may have the same pennant numbers; the second and third RFA Sir Galahad, for example. So you may need to use the launch date to disambiguate these.
If there is only one article for a given ship name, you should still pre-emptively disambiguate it, creating a redirect from the plain name:
- There was only one ''Wilkes-Barre'' in the US Navy, so USS Wilkes-Barre redirects to USS Wilkes-Barre (CL-103)
This means that when a second article is written about another ship with that name (and so the plain name becomes a disambiguation page), you do not have to go round fixing all the links. It also means that you do not have to check each time you link to a ship whether or not to disambiguate.
Make an index page that lists all the ships in a navy with the same name:
For well-known names that are shared between navies, or between military and civilian ships, also disambiguate at the usual disambiguation page for the name:
- Nautilus (disambiguation) refers to ships named Nautilus.
- Discovery refers to ships named Discovery.
Referring to ships
"The" is not needed before the name of a ship:
You may give the ship's prefix the first time you introduce the ship, but you should not repeat it on future mentions. You need not give the prefix at all if it is obvious from the context (for example, in a list of ships of the Royal Navy there is no need to repeat "HMS" each time).
Make a link from the first mention of each ship in an article, even if Military Power Wiki does not yet have an article about that ship. If you do not know how to disambiguate it, link to the index page for its name: this will allow the link to be found and fixed later.
Do not give the hull number or other disambiguation information unless it is immediately relevant. Someone who needs to know can follow the link:
- Vanguard was Nelson's flagship at the Nile (not "Vanguard (1787) …")
- Yorktown was sunk at the battle of Midway (not "Yorktown (CV-5) …")
- But in "the later Lexington (CV-16) was laid down as Cabot but renamed in honor of the earlier Lexington (CV-2)" the disambiguation information is needed.
Ships that changed name or nationality
An article about a ship that changed name or nationality should be placed at the best-known name, with a redirect from the other name:
- Article at HMS Royal Charles (1655), with a redirect from Commonwealth ship Naseby
- Article at Cutty Sark, with a redirect at Maria do Amparo
But if the ship had significant careers in two navies, it may be best to create two articles with one ending at the transfer and the other beginning then, depending on how long the articles are and how extensive the transformation of the ship.
Ships whose class and designation changed
If an entire class of ships was reclassified (such as in the 1975 USN ship reclassification), be consistent and make the decision once for all the ships of the class:
- The Knox-class and Garcia-class frigates are named with the FF (frigate) classification, not DE (destroyer escort). (Justification: known as frigates for the majority of their service.)
- The Castle-class corvettes are named with pennant numbers starting K, not F. (Justification: best known for service during World War II.)
Articles about a ship class should be named (Lead ship name) class (type); for example, Ohio class submarine. Do not be overly specific in the type; for example, use "aircraft carrier", not "light escort fleet assault carrier". Use the singular form of the ship type; for example, "submarine", not "submarines".
Uses of the class as a noun are not hyphenated, while adjectival references are hyphenated, as in Ohio-class submarine: if in doubt, do not hyphenate. Note the separation of submarine as a separate link; this is not required, but does allow the reader to look up the general term directly instead of being plunged into the technical discussion of a ship class.
Ship classes may need to be disambiguated:
- By nationality: United States Porpoise-class submarine and British Porpoise-class submarine
- By date: King George V class battleship (1911) and King George V class battleship (1939)
(This is a draft set of naming conventions. Feel free to edit it, or comment on the discussion page)